Week 6: Cinematic Sound

Still from Jaws, directed by Steven Spielberg (1975)

Still from Jaws, directed by Steven Spielberg (1975)

Lecture

This lecture explores the use of sound in conventional cinema. It focuses on the use of diegetic sound versus non-diegetic sounds in delivering narratives. We will examine some classic examples of mainstream cinema and trace the development of audiovisual relationship in the establishment of a cinematic language. We will also look at examples of innovation where this relationship was challenged.

Lecture links: http://www.aaronlburton.com/uowmeda101w6.html

Workshop

This workshop:

  • introduces how we talk about sound
  • analyses how sound is used with moving images
  • introduces the basics of audio editing

Discussion: Sonic Nomenclature
How do we talk about sound?

What words or terms do we use to describe
What are the types of audio we create in production? What are they called?
What are the elements in an audio piece?
How do we talk about the experience of an audio piece?

Exercise: Audio analysis
In a group of 2, select an audio piece from the list and listen:

Identify the following:

  • types of sounds e.g. music, enactment, sound effects, recordings
  • structure of edits e.g. overlaid, fade in/out
  • editing patterns e.g. repetition, gaps/ silence

What kind of images conjured up in your mind?
How are meanings conveyed?
Discuss their emphases: conceptually drive, experimental, community engaged, remix, story-telling etc,
Present your analysis to class

Exercise: Diegetic and non-diegetic sounds
In a group of 2, select one film work from the list and listen without visuals:
Identify the following:

  • types of sounds e.g. music, enactment, sound effects, recordings
  • structure of edits e.g. overlaid, fade in/out
  • editing patterns e.g. repetition, gaps/ silence

What kind of film do you think it is?
What is happening in the scene?
What are the meanings conveyed?

Now watch the film with both audio and visuals.

  • Have you perception of the scene changed? If so, in what ways?
  • In parts where the visuals differ from what you imagined, how has the audio elements influenced this?
  • What sounds give you clue to what is happening on screens (die
    Still from Jaws, directed by Steven Spielberg (1975)

    Still from Jaws, directed by Steven Spielberg (1975)

    getic)?

  • What do the other sounds do (non-diegetic)?

Exercise: Audio editing basics
General information:

Common sound file formats: WAV, AIFF, MP3 etc. (What do these mean?)
Common sound editing software used: Audacity, Soundtrack, Pro-tools (How are they different? And which one to use?)

Sound editing:

Importing/ exporting files
Recording sounds through the computer setting

Basic editing techniques

Project development:
To develop your conceptual approach to the project, you can think of your sound piece as a documentary, a narrative, an ambient track, or a soundscape.

Tasks:
Post of a summary of the workshop and your audio experiments to your blog.
Complete Assessment 2 project for submission.

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